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Mumbai is a city made up of immigrants and continues to be an immigrant's dream. For people who are away from their family, eating out is a necessity and for others, often a break from the routine. And Mumbai has the best selection of restaurants in India. You could trace the history of the metropolis and go on a culinary tour of the subcontinent by trawling through the amazing variety of food available. Gujarati thalis, Muslim kababs, Mangalorian seafood, Parsi Dhansak, North Indian tandoories and Goan vindaloos-like the city's population, comes from all over India.

Eating out is a legitimate and delightful way to explore the city's character, so this is no time to get nervous about your dietary habits. See food in the health section of the facts for the visitor chapter for some reassuring news. Compared to the cost of accommodation, dining out in Mumbai is surprisingly cheap. You can have a fine meal at a quality restaurant for around US$5; and eat well for less than half this price in any mid- range or budget establishment. See the tipping and bargaining section of the facts for the visitor chapter for advice on tipping.

Most budget restaurants and cafes open daily from breakfast to around 11 pm. Smarter restaurants tend to open only for lunch and dinner. Locals eat their evening meal around 9 pm: so if you turn up at a restaurant at 7.30 pm you are likely to be the only person keeping the waiters on their toes. The exception to this rule is the sprinkling of fort restaurants, which get crowded immediately after offices close.

But if you ask for Mumbai style of fast food then, it is Bhelpuri, Pavbaji, and Panipuri and not hamburgers or hotdogs. The average Mumbaikars prefers to gorge on vada pav, bhelpuri, batawada , samosa, dabeli pav and other variations on the theme, as these are light on the pocket, kills hunger, tastes good and still leaves room for dinner or becomes dinner, if doubled in quantity, as the case maybe.

And even branded outlets like Domino's, McDonalds, Birdys and Croissants are located at key areas in the city. They offer a wide variety of food with focus on uniformity, hygiene and quality but very often the main draw is the branding and positioning of the company rather than the food itself.

From pavement stalls to side walk cafes, to multi-cuisine restaurants that provide fine dining experiences, Mumbai has it all. Though most of the eateries are ubiquitous in nature, there are some that stand out as landmarks in the city by virtue of their food, their ambiance or their history. So enjoy the good food of Mumbai to warm up your mood.

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